Your credit score is like a report card for your credit history. No matter what your score is, you can follow these simple steps to help improve it. 

6 simple rules for raising your credit score

Rule 1: Make. Every. Payment.

Late payments can stay on your record for up to 7 years. But, if you always make at least the minimum payments on your debts on time, you’ll have an A+ payment history. 

Rule 2: Diversification is key

Responsibly managing different types of credit can help demonstrate your creditworthiness. Having a mix of revolving credit accounts (like a credit card) and non-revolving credit accounts (which are one-time, lump sum loans, like a student loan) on your credit history will help in the long run. 

Rule 3: For your ratio, less is more

Your credit utilization ratio, that is. This number represents how much of your available credit you’re using. For example, if you have a $1,000 balance on a credit card with a limit of $10,000, then your credit utilization ratio for that account is 10%.

The lower your utilization, the better it is for your score—for excellent credit, keep it under 10% by paying down revolving balances. Requesting (and being approved for) a credit limit increase is one way to quickly improve your utilization score, but it may count as a “hard” credit inquiry. 

Rule 4: Monitor often

You can get a free copy of your credit report every year from each of the major credit bureaus through AnnualCreditReport.com.

Pro tip: Pull each of the credit bureau reports separately, one every four months, to monitor your report three times a year for free and with no impact on your score! If you find any errors or discrepancies on your report, get in touch with the credit bureau to correct the inaccurate information. 

Rule 5: Age matters

The average age of your credit accounts makes up about 15% of your score. So even if you don’t use that old credit card often, closing it may negatively impact your credit score. Use old cards for small purchases here and there (and be sure to pay off the balances on time) to keep them from getting closed. 

Rule 6: Reduce outstanding debt

Even though you need to take on some debt to build your credit history in the first place, decreasing your outstanding debt is one of the surefire ways to build your credit score—especially if it’s on a revolving account, like a credit card. A solid debt payoff plan can help you achieve this. 

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial, or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial, or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

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